Conference of the Birds: A Philosophical Religious Poem in Prose

C.S. Nott


The Conference of the Birds is one of the great works of world literature. In it Farid ud-Din Attar explores the nature of the spiritual path through an allegory of the brave birds that go in search of their king through the peaks of exultation and the valleys of despair that represent the stages of the seeker as he travels towards enlightenment. Attar was the predecessor of the great Persian Sufi poet Jalalludin Rumi, who borrowed Attar’s technique of weaving wisdom within entertaining and amusing tales.

Considered by Rumi to be “the master” of Sufi mystic poetry, Attar is best known for this epic poem, a magnificent allegorical tale about the soul’s search for meaning. He recounts the perilous journey of the world’s birds to the faraway peaks of Mount Qaf in search of the mysterious Simorgh, their king. Attar’s beguiling anecdotes and humor intermingle the sublime with the mundane, the spiritual with the worldly, while his poem models the soul’s escape from the mind’s rational embrace.

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“As poetry it is beautiful, as a source of enlightenment it is so deep I have only touched the surface of an ocean.” – Amazon customer

Abū amīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm (c. 1145 – c. 1221; Persian: ابو حامد بن ابوبکر ابراهیم‎), better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn (فرید الدین) and Attār (عطار, “the perfumer”), was a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism.


This is the best translation I've come across of this classic work. I really don't think the translation of poetry works from one language to another - which is why I prefer this prose version which captures the spirit, instead of being rather sentimental like many other translations.
Amazon customer